Police record rise in religious hate crimes after Israel-Gaza war

Police record rise in religious hate crimes after Israel-Gaza war

Antisemitic hate crimes rose sharply in the month after the Hamas attack on Israel, figures from some of the UK’s largest police forces suggest.

Some forces also recorded a rise in Islamophobic offences, though the picture is more mixed.

The Community Safety Trust, a Jewish charity, has called the figures “shocking”.

Meanwhile, campaigners against anti-Muslim abuse have described them as “deeply worrying”.

The figures, obtained by PA news agency, show antisemitic offences rose significantly in the larger police force areas in the month following the 7 October attacks.

Greater Manchester Police recorded 74 antisemitic incidents compared with 15 during the same period the previous year, while the number of Islamophobic offences dropped to 34 from 43.

Meanwhile, West Yorkshire Police recorded 53 antisemitic offences, up from 10 in 2022. Islamophobic offences rose to 49 from 29, it said – representing the biggest increase in such incidents.

West Midlands Police reported 22 antisemitic offences in the month to 7 November, compared with one in 2022, while Islamophobic offences fell to 25 from 33 in 2022.

Merseyside Police said the number of antisemitic incidents had risen from four to 20. Islamophobic offences there rose from six to 10.

Some forces that operate across a mix of urban and less populated areas showed a similar pattern in recorded antisemitic incidents, though with lower volumes of offences.

Hertfordshire Police recorded 17 antisemitic offences during the same in 2023, up from six in 2022, while Thames Valley Police saw its numbers rise from one to 21.

The greatest increase, however, was recorded by the British Transport Police – noting 87 antisemitic offences up from eight over the same period in 2022. Islamophobic offences jumped from two to 22, it said.

A spokesperson for the Community Security Trust said the figures made clear “the extent of the unacceptable rise in anti-Jewish hatred across the country” since 7 October.

They stressed it was essential for perpetrators to be identified and prosecuted, and that “wider society shows its disgust for this racist hate crime”.

Iman Atta, the director of Tell Mama, which monitors anti-Muslim abuse, described the levels of Islamophobic hatred and discrimination as “deeply worrying”, adding it was affecting communities’ “trust in authorities and their sense of identity and belonging”.

She said: “We should never allow such hatred and intolerance to take root in our communities and at this time.”

“Please look out for each other, whether Muslim or Jewish,” she added. “We must stand together against intolerance, hate and racism.”

PA received responses from 31 of the UK’s 46 police forces to its Freedom of Information request.

The research does not include figures from London’s Metropolitan Police, which has previously reported big surges in both antisemitic and Islamophobic offences.

The force said delays prevented it from supplying full data until the new year.

The Met previously recorded 188 arrests involving hate crime and acts of violence in the month to 7 November. A majority of the arrests were for suspected antisemitic offences and were linked to protests held in London, it said.

Demonstrators in London march as they protest in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza
Image caption,The Met Police last provided figures on arrests relating to hate crimes ahead of a day of mass protest in London in November

At the time, the Met’s commander for criminal justice Paul Trevers called the rise in religious hate crime in the capital “absolutely unacceptable”.

“No one should be subjected to hate because of their faith or race, and we are taking action against those who are offending,” he said.

Since police forces use different methods to record hate crimes, the data obtained by PA cannot be used to compare the number of offences across different areas.

Due to the same reason, the figures cannot be used to provide a UK-wide total.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: “There is no place for hate in our society and we condemn the recent rise in reported antisemitic and anti-Muslim hatred.

“We expect the police to fully investigate all hate crimes and work with the CPS to make sure the cowards who commit these abhorrent offences feel the full force of the law.

“Following recent events, we have also made further funding available to Jewish and Muslim communities, to provide additional security at places of worship and faith schools.”

The unprecedented Hamas attacks on Israel killed 1,200 people. About 240 others were taken hostage.

More than 21,300 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza in Israeli bombardments since then, according to the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry.

Source: BBC


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